No compensation for Haneef: Aus

Updated on Feb 18, 2008 09:14 PM IST
As per Australia's top cop, the Indian doctor, charged with supporting failed UK attacks, would not get compensation claim.
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Reuters | ByRob Taylor, Canberra

An Indian doctor arrested and charged in Australia with supporting failed car bomb attacks in Britain, only to be freed and later cleared, would get no compensation, Australia's top policeman said on Monday.

Lawyers for Mohamed Haneef, 28, have spoken of a A$1 million ($909,000) compensation claim, claiming his career has been ruined by his brush with Australian law.

But Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said Haneef had been dealt with fairly under Australian law.

"Every step we have taken has had some form of judicial oversight," Keelty told lawmakers from the upper house Senate, adding Haneef's lawyers had yet to make contact.

Haneef was held without charge on July 2 last year under tough new anti-terrorism laws and accused of aiding the British plot until Australia's public prosecutor withdrew charges on July 27, leading to a backlash over police handling of his case.

The case has become a rallying point for human rights critics of anti-terrorism laws, which were gradually strengthened by the conservative government after the September 11, 2001 airliner attacks on the United States.

Former Governor-General Bill Hayden said Haneef's case was "frightening and appalling" in a democratic country.

The country's Labor government, elected in November, will soon announce a judicial inquiry into Haneef's case, but Keelty said his force had not changed its methods after a review.

"We have absolutely nothing to hide," Keelty said.

Australia has never suffered a peacetime militant attack on home soil, although a total of 30 people have been charged with terrorism related offences in Australia, with two convicted and sentenced.

Keelty said Haneef's case had cost at least A$7.5 million and involved more than 470 police and customs agents in three states, as well as the United Kingdom, requiring 16 telephone intercepts, six surveillance devices and 22 search warrants.

"We have reviewed the Haneef matter as a matter of course and there's nothing that's arisen out of those reviews that required us to alter our policies or alter our approaches," Keelty said.

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